Confused with all this BCAA and EAA talk? If you’re used to using supplements you’re probably aware by now that BCAA’s (branched-chain amino acids) play an important role when it comes to muscle synthesis and recovery. However, what you may not know is that when BCAA’s are combined with EAA’s (essential amino acids) your performance during training and your ability to recover faster is boosted significantly.
So, what are Amino Acids?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein -needed for repair, maintenance, and growth of muscle in the body. There are 20 amino acids that make up the proteins in the human body, of which 11 are considered either ‘Non-Essential’ or “Conditionally Essential’, and the other 9 are ‘Essential’ Amino Acids (EAA’s). EAA’s are not produced naturally by the body and must be consumed through your diet. These 9 essential amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, valine, histidine, lysine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, threonine, and methionine.
But what’s the difference between BCAA’s and EAA’s?
This is where most people get confused. The 3 BCAA’s: Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine, are all EAA’s, however not all 9 EAA’s are BCAA’s.
If you thought Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine sound familiar, it’s because these are the highly discussed ‘Branch Chain Amino Acids’ (BCAA’s), which are known for their muscle building and repair capabilities. i.e., they trigger muscle protein synthesis. Whereas the remaining essential aminos (histidine, lysine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, threonine, and methionine) are the ‘building blocks’ the body requires for muscle growth and repair to occur.
Of all the essential aminos the BCAA’s are known to play the biggest role when it comes to building muscles. However, studies have shown that BCAA’s combined with EAA’s is more effective than just BCAA’s when it comes to building muscle.
Do I need to take EAA’s?
For the regular gym goers or athletes, it is often difficult to get all the ‘essential’ amino acids your body needs from a diet without supplementation due to the demand exercise has on the body. By supplementing with a natural EAA formula (like PranaOn’s Intra Strength), your body can utilize the amino acids necessary for muscle growth, repair and recovery. Also, the best food source of EAA’s come from animal products, such as meat, poultry and dairy. Therefore, it can be hard for active vegans and vegetarians to consume enough amino acids their body requires solely from food. Therefore, taking EAA supplements is an easy and effective solution to improve performance and grow as an athlete.